Rhode Island-Based Jobs Fell by 200 from January; February Unemployment Rate Rose to 3.9 Percent

Published on Thursday, March 21, 2024

CRANSTON, R.I. – Rhode Island businesses lost 200 jobs in February as the state’s unemployment rate rose to 3.9 percent. Over the year, jobs were up 9,300 from February 2023, and the unemployment rate was up one and one-tenth percentage points.

Rhode Island’s Labor Force

The February unemployment rate was 3.9 percent, up three-tenths of a percentage point from the January rate of 3.6 percent. Last year, the rate was 2.8 percent in February.

The U.S. unemployment rate was 3.9 percent in February, up two-tenths of a percentage point from January. The U.S. rate was 3.6 percent in February 2023.

The number of unemployed Rhode Island residents — those residents classified as available for and actively seeking employment — was 22,700, up 1,800 from January. The number of unemployed residents was up 6,500 over the year.

The number of employed Rhode Island residents was 557,900, up 300 over the month and up 2,800 over the year.

The Rhode Island labor force totaled 580,600 in February, up 2,100 over the month and up 9,400 from February 2023.

The labor force participation rate was 64.1 percent in February, up from 63.9 in January, and up from 63.4 in February 2023. Nationally, 62.5 percent of U.S. residents participated in the labor force.

Unemployment Insurance claims* for first-time filers averaged 1,056 in February, down from 2,121 in January. Claims were up an average of 3 a week from February 2023 filings.

Rhode Island-Based Jobs

The number of total nonfarm jobs in Rhode Island was 512,100 in February, a decrease of 200 jobs from the revised January jobs figure of 512,300. Over the year, total nonfarm jobs are up 9,300 or 1.8 percent. Nationally, jobs were up 1.8 percent from a year ago. The number of private sector jobs in Rhode Island fell by 1,700 in February but is up 7,800 from February 2023.

February Nonfarm Payroll Notes…

  • The reported January job gain of 2,200 was revised up by 1,000 to a gain of 3,200 jobs.
  • The February loss of 200 jobs was the first monthly job loss since October 2023.
  • The number of jobs in the Accommodation & Food Services fell by 2,700 in February, the first monthly decline since July 2023.
  • Five additional employment sectors reported minor job losses in February.
  • After shedding 1,000 jobs in January, State Government rebounded by adding 1,300 jobs in February. In all, Government employment rose by 1,500 from January.

Manufacturing Hours and Earnings

In February, production workers in the Manufacturing sector earned $26.32 per hour, up seventeen cents from January, and up two dollars and sixty-four cents from February 2023.

Manufacturing employees worked an average of 40.6 hours per week in February, up four-tenths of an hour over the month, and up an hour and four-tenths from a year ago.

* The average number of verified initial claims filed during the week that includes the 12th of the month and the three weeks prior. The Department of Labor and Training is scheduled to release the March 2024 labor force figures and job counts at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, April 18, 2024.